Brakes are your car’s most important safety system, so it is crucial that they are looked after so they are always performing to their full potential. Here at The Tyre Group, we recommend that you have your brakes checked periodically and not just when you have your MOT test. This is because like tyres, brakes wear out gradually and over time will become much less effective.

Car brakes work through the transmission of force from the foot through the brake pedal when it is pushed. This hydraulic pressure then flows through to the cylinders and callipers which force the brake pads against the disc brakes which brings the vehicle to a stop

How do brakes work?

When you press your brake pedal the force is transmitted from your foot to the brake through a fluid. This hydraulic pressure is forced into the master cylinder of the brake where it flows through hoses to the wheel cylinders and callipers. This results in pads being pushed against the rotators on your disc brake which will bring the vehicle to a stop.

What causes brake failure?

There are a number of factors that can cause your brakes to deteriorate or stop working including...


General wear is the most common reason for brakes failing to work or becoming less efficient. Wear occurs as a result of the forces of deceleration and usually affects the discs. Discs must not drop beneath the minimum thickness advised by your manufacturer and need to be replaced when they meet this limit. Brake discs should always be replaced in pairs and you should have your brake pads replaced at the same time.

Pad Wear

Much like your brake discs, your brake pads are also subject to wear. Your driving style is the leading factor when it comes to brake pad wear, as high speed braking causes the brake pads to wear much more rapidly than low speed braking.


Another cause of brake failure is distortion. The main reason for distortion is uneven heating and cooling which causes the brake discs to change shape. Thinner and more worn discs are at the highest risk from distortion, but you can help to avoid this by using a lower gear rather than holding down your brake during long downhill runs.


The cast iron material which brake components are made from can be susceptible to corrosion over time. Most surface rust will be cleaned by the braking pads, however, this is not always the case. Initial light corrosion can be easily removed but if left and allowed to build up it can lead to surface pitting, which will weaken the braking discs. Mechanics usually check your brakes for any corrosion when performing brake checks.

Brake Fluid

Brake fluid plays a crucial part in braking. When you press the brake pedal it is brake fluid which transfers this force directly on to the wheel hub and this triggers the braking process.

Whilst braking, brake systems get extremely hot and this can cause brake fluid to boil and then vaporise. When the brake fluid is vaporised it becomes a gas which can be compressed. As brake systems rely on the principle that a liquid cannot be compressed when the fluid becomes a gas the system can no longer perform to its full potential.

When do my brakes need repairing?

All of the problems listed above can usually be caught early and rectified if you get your brakes checked frequently. If you notice any of the following symptoms it is time to have a brake check:

  • Noises when braking – especially grinding or squealing
  • Vibration when braking at high speed
  • Pulling to one side when braking
  • Poor performance or slow braking
  • Brake pedal feels hard or spongy when pressed
  • Slack in handbrake
  • Brake warning light on dashboard

If you do notice any of these problems bring your vehicle to your local Tyre Group branch for your free brake check.

Our brake check facility will give you a clear picture of the condition of your brakes and we will be able to tell you whether you need new brake pads, discs or if the braking system itself is in need of attention. All braking elements will be checked against the manufacturer’s specification so your brakes will be performing to their most efficient standard in no time.

Drop in to your nearest Tyre Group branch and our fully trained brake technicians will be happy to provide you with a comprehensive brake inspection completely free of charge.

Buy tyres online with The Tyre Group for fitment at one of our branches in the Midlands, South West England, South Wales and Scotland Contact The Tyre Group incorporating Malvern Tyres, Discount Tyres, County Tyre, King David Tyres Ltd and AutoTyre & Battery Co. We have more than 50 branches located throughout the Midlands, South West England, South Wales and Scotland